Saturday, August 31, 2013

I'm One Lucky Guy

"The incidence of all spinal injuries in the US is about 11,000 per year, resulting in about 6000 deaths and 5000 new cases of quadriplegia."

Wow.  That doesn't leave much wiggle room.  Pardon the pun.

I had to share my homecoming with you all.  Those of you who own dogs already get this.  But for those of you who don't, dogs are the ultimate welcoming home party.  

Our dogs act like you've been gone for days when you've only been gone for hours.  But what if you've been gone for days?

I stayed in the car, knowing what was coming, and not wanting to be knocked down by excited dogs.  Pam let them out one at a time.



Chevy and Ruby.

They were excited to see me.  Dogs always make you feel good, don't they?

So do drugs.  This is just one of my pill schedules.  Hypertension plus spine stuff.  Steroids, anti-inflamatories, pain killers, muscle relaxers.  It's all there.

It's so good to be home.

Now to figure out what we're doing.   I'm in this neck brace for the  next couple of months, and can't lift anything weighing more than five pounds.  The plan was to get the basement put in and for me to finish it off enough for us to live in while we build the house above it.  Since I can't do that, what do we do?  I guess I'll have time to ponder that, since I can't do much else, but it looks like a change of plans.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Revenge Of The Trees

We raged a war on our Bleecker Mountain Trees.  We cleared them for firewood and had the remainder bulldozed over a good portion of our ten acres of land to make room for our homestead.  I guess one shouldn't mess with Bleecker Mountain Trees.

I was sitting at Albany Medical Center in the emergency room.  I'm not sure what happened.  I tried to piece it together.

I cut down a tree on Tuesday.  I notched it and back cut it perfectly.  I turned off the chainsaw and set it down.  The tree was perfectly balanced.  I was proud of myself.  I still have it.  I pushed it over with one finger, and stood off to the side as I usually do in case it kicked as it crashed.  I've cut down hundreds of trees at this point in my life and I'm pretty good at it.  It fell with a big, resounding CRASH. 

An instant after it fell, I caught a brief instantaneous glimpse of a tree falling and coming at me out of the corner of my left eye. The next thing I knew, I woke up laying on the ground, crumpled up and unable to move anything.  I was completely paralyzed.  After a minute, I got feeling back everyplace but my right arm. Afraid I might pass out again, with everything spinning and me staggering, I struggled out of the woods to a chair in the screen tent a couple of hundred feet away.  I knew I was messed up real good.  Blood oozed down my face.  Everything was tingly, my world was unsteady, and everything got very, very bright all of a sudden.  My pupils were dilating.  My right arm ached and was useless and hung like a wet dishrag.   I didn't dare try to walk to Earl's house for help in case I passed out half way there.  All I could do was sit and wait for help. 
I heard that applying cold compresses to a spine injury can lessen damage.  Where would I get ice?  I was sitting next to the beer cooler!  I removed the ice packs and applied them to my neck.  It was hot and I was sweating, and the cold compresses felt good.  The beer was getting warm though.  What to do about that?

This photo below was also taken by Pam, the day after the tree attack.

Yeah... four beers.  Is that a problem?   I was just whacked by a tree, fer pete's sake.  What else was I to do while I was sitting there?

After some time, feeling started to come back to my extremities.  I could wiggle the fingers in my right hand now.  I sat there until i got enough feeling back in my right hand to drive Pam's standard shift car, her Miata, home.  I parked it at the top of the hill and walked down the long, steep driveway.  I immediately stripped and jumped in the shower.  If Pam came home and insisted that we go to the hospital, she wouldn't wait for me to shower.  That's what happened when I stepped on the nail last month.  I had to take preemptive measures.  It was a difficult task, taking a shower, and shampoo on the open wounds on my noggin hurt!

When Pam came home and I told her what happened, she insisted (over my objections) that we go to the hospital.  I put my foot down.  NO.  We don't have health insurance.  It's too expensive.  Let's wait until tomorrow and see how it goes.  

Pam called Gump, a doctor friend in Annapolis, and told him what happened.  She handed me the phone.  He said a neck injury like that might make me stop breathing and die.  Yeah, but we don't have insurance.  I'm not going.  End of story. I'm putting my foot down.  I'm the man of this castle.  I'm not going anywhere. What I say goes, and that's it.  Pam gave me "the look".

We arrived at St. Mary's ER in Amsterdam.  They checked me out and decided they didn't have the right skill set to patch me up.  They were going to send me to Albany Medical Center, where the most versatile and talented physicians are in this part of the state. 

Poor Pam could hardly keep her eyes open.  She had gotten up early that day to drive her mother to St. Mary's for a foot operation.  I told her to go home.  There was nothing she could do now.  I was getting an ambulance ride to Albany Med and there would be a lot of sitting around and waiting.  I could see that she was reluctant to let me go alone, but she needed sleep.  It was 10 PM.

"Just go," I said.  "Go home and get some sleep.  You can come when you wake up."

So she left.  She arrived at Albany Med at 4 AM.  I was glad to see her, but that's not getting much sleep since Bleecker is about an hour and a half from Albany.

Xrays showed two fractured vertebrae in my neck, C6 and C7.   The fracture in C6 was next to a blood vessel that runs to my supposed brain.  The docs didn't tell me what that meant, but the look on the doctors' faces were grim enough to tell me it was serious.  And I saw a lot of docs.  Trauma docs, spine specialists, dermatologists, podiatrists, I saw them all.  

"What happened?"

I tried to be flippant, as is my nature whenever I'm hit by a tree.  "I was attacked by a tree.  It hit me square on the head."

"A tree branch?"

"No.  A tree.  I cut a tree down, and another snuck up on me and whacked me for it."

They asked me many questions about how I felt.  They were amazed when  I told them that I didn't have a headache most of all.

"No headache?"

"Nope.  Not a thing.  I hit my head on stuff all the time."

They all shined a light into my eyeballs.  "Follow my finger.  You don't have a headache???" they all asked.


Then I thought that I had better watch what I say.  There's a mental ward here, for sure.

While I didn't think this was all that big a deal, they admitted me.

While I was undergoing tests, I sent Pam home again for much needed rest.  She was beat.  She didn't want to go, and I could see tears welling up in her eyes, a combination of exhaustion and stress.  But I convinced her and  she left.
Pam took this photo below the next morning.

You can see the tree I cut pointed at ten o'clock and the one laying across it that came from the left. I never saw it coming. It was, I think, hung up in another tree and sprung from the vibrations of the crash of the big one I cut.  It never made it all the way to the ground. Good thing. I might have been paralyzed, or killed.  It's not that big around, but long, and it must have sprung like a whip.

After many hours in the ER waiting for a bed, I was taken to C5 which specializes in spine trauma.  I think C5 is some kind of inside spinal injury joke, but I can't say enough good things about Albany Med and C5.  The staff there is incredibly attentive and even politely laughed at my lame jokes.  If you ever get hit by a tree, go to Albany Medical Center in Albany New York and ask for C5.  I don't care where you live.  You go to Albany Med and ask for C5.   Tell them the Bleecker Mountain Idiot sent you.

The photo below was taken by my daughter Becky.  

Yes. I'm "smiling". Morphine + Oxy-something = sunshine on my shoulders, and makes me happy.

To make a long, drugged fuzzy story short, my prognosis is mixed. The fractures will heal eventually, but when the tree hit me it hyper-extended my head backwards, causing my spinal cord to hit a vertebra and bruised it. It will heal, but it will scar and may affect things like feeling in my right hand, which is still numb. Doctor Carl also said that my back is a mess both from old spinal injuries, this new stuff, inherited problems, and arthritis.  He said he'll be looking at my xrays, CT scans, and MRIs in 20 years and shaking his head, wondering what the hell happened.

On the bright side, the three toes on my right foot that have been numb for years are no longer numb. Strange.  Maybe I should whack myself with another tree to see if that fixes my right hand?

The docs released me and I'm now home.  I'll be in my neck brace for six to eight weeks, but the upside is that I have lots of cool drugs. But no lifting, bending, twisting, or cutting trees.  Actually, Pam, Kathy, and Becky
 ganged up on me and told me that I will no longer be operating anything that runs on gasoline, diesel or electricity for quite some time.  Pamela will change the locks on TODD the Trailer.  I guess they know me and my recalcitrance.

I can't thank Pamela, Becky, and Kathy for being by my side for so many hours over the past few days.  I love you all more than you can ever know.

This may sound like an awful thing to happen to a person, but to quote Lou Gehrig, "I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

I'm still here.   It could have been worse.

Now to figure out Plan B.  Where will we be living in a few months?  The Unabomber rental cabin?  A motor home?  Drift Away?  A cardboard box under an interstate overpass?  In Earl's barn with Jeremiah?  With my track record, I could always live at the hospital, but I have Pam and the critters to think about.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

sometimes shit happens

Hi all, this is going to be a very brief post today. Dave had an accident at the property and has landed himself in the hospital. as I write this, he is in Albany Medical Center having some extensive tests done. I will let all the fellow readers know how he is doing later today. but for now..... the blog is going to be quiet. give me a day to sort  things out and then the whole sordid disaster will be retold for your viewing pleasure.

don't worry, the dumb pollack will live, but he will not be moving around very quickly and certainly will not be building any rock walls for a long time.and yes, I called him a dumb pollack.... so am I. that's why I love him.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just Putterin'

So we're stuck, waiting on well drillers, leach field engineers, and architects.  Everyone moves at a glacial pace.  There's not much happening until we get plans and building permits.  So I decided to try to get my 33 year old chainsaw to run.  This was a fine Sears chainsaw, all metal, not plastic like the new saws.  It has a lot of miles on it, but it always ran great.

I took it apart to try to determine what might be wrong with it.  It wasn't hard to figure out.  The plastic gas line from the gas tank to the carburetor was so old that it had disintegrated.  The top half of the gas tank is on the right in the pic below.  What's left of the gas line runs up and to the right of the finned wheel.

So I took it all apart.

Earl had the proper sized hose (surprise surprise) but where I thought the line connected wasn't so.  It actually ran above the engine to the carburetor.  The only way to connect it would be to completely disassemble the saw, engine and all.  Taking it all part and putting it back together would be like a Chinese puzzle.  I set it aside, dejected, and had a defeated beer.

As I sat in the screen house, I looked at where the pole barn and horse barn would be going.  Just past there, I noted the big pile of PVC pipe that I have.  The barns will be built in ten foot increments.  The pipes looked to be about ten feet long.  I got out the tape measure.  Ten feet.  I put the pipe together with connectors and laid it on the ground.

Pole barn, 20' x 40'.

Barn, with integrated trailer, 20' x 20'.

It was useful to do this to get a feel of size and distances.  The pole barn and horse barn will only be about 20 feet apart.  Is that far enough to get a car in the last stall?  Far enough will all the snow that will slide off the roof of the barn?  I needed to ponder this.

And then I stacked Bleecker Mountain Rockstm as anchors for the screen house.  There is no end to the uses of Bleecker Mountain Rockstm .  Man, if I ever built a catapult...

Earl came over mid-afternoon to see if I got the chainsaw running.  I replied in the negative.  He asked why, I told him, he asked for the chainsaw and pondered it for a minute while puffing on his pipe.  

"This is a stupid design," declared Earl.

I agreed.  Just like the hydraulic cylinder on a Ford dump truck.

"This is what I'd do.  I'd just run the gas line on the outside."

And so we did.

Earl has a tool that I can only describe as a Super Dremel.  I ground out a couple of passages for the fuel line to pass through externally...  yep.  Works.  Only I need to buy some Permatex to make a new gasket for the fuel tank.  The paper one fell apart and the saw leaks gas like Snowden leaks secrets.  Once that's done, and maybe if I buy a new bar, this old saw will be as good as new.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on a new coil for the brand new Jonsered piece of plastic crap that I bought.  From now on, I'm buying good old American made stuff off Craig's List.  No more Chinese made junk for me.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Two Sleeps

I found this article fascinating -  Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You.

The existence of our sleeping twice per night was first uncovered by Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech.
His research found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk. We used to sleep in two shorter periods, over a longer range of night. This range was about 12 hours long, and began with a sleep of three to four hours, wakefulness of two to three hours, then sleep again until morning.
The middle hours of the night, between two sleeps, was characterized by unusual calmness, likened to meditation. This was not the middle-of-the-night toss-and-turn that many of us experienced. The individuals did not stress about falling back asleep, but used the time to relax.
"I would go to bed really early, like 8:30, and then get up around 2:30am.  This was alarming at first, but then I remembered that this sleep pattern was quite common in pre-electric light days.  When this happened I would end up reading or writing by candlelight for an hour or two, then going back to bed.”
Why am I posting this?  What does it have to do with this blog?   A lot, actually.  It affirms what I've been doing for several decades.  Two sleeps.  It's when I often write this blog, especially in the winter time when the days are shorter.

I usually go to bed ten-ish.  I'm up at 3 AM.  Not 2:45.  Not 3:15.  I roll over and look at the clock, and 9 times out of ten, it reads 3:00.  Weird.

I know I can't get back to sleep, so what do I do?  I do a quick check of my email and Facebook, and then write a draft of the blog.  I'm back in bed by 4 or 5.  When I get up, usually around 7 or so, I then proof read the blog and publish it.

Yep.  That's how it's done.  Except sometimes, like lately, I think of a topic and actually write the first draft the night before, correct, rewrite, and edit it between first and second sleep, and then fine tune it and publish it after second sleep.  I try to do it before 8 AM, since I know that many of my readers check it as soon as they get to work.

I think I'm most creative between the Two Sleeps.   After working all day, I'm tired.  But between the Two Sleeps, my mind is clear and my unconscious has often written the blog while I've been sleeping.  I only need to put it on paper.  Um... my age is showing.  I meant type it on the laptop.

Pam and I went to visit her dad yesterday, our first visit since we've been back north.  We stayed for over five hours, leaving well after 7 for the long ride home from Schenectady to Bleecker.  The sun set before 8 PM and it was totally dark not long after 8.  The Two Sleeps will be more and more common now and hopefully the creativity of this blog will improve as well.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cutting Poles For The Pole Barn

We're kind of at a standstill on building our little house.  The state certified engineer that is required to certify our leach field hasn't returned any phone calls for three weeks, the architect needs to design our basement as a living space, and we're in the process of getting quotes on finishing digging out the foundation and pouring the walls.  Just as I feared, we're waiting on other people, which means no progress.  So Earl and I moved rocks around in the morning, and in the afternoon decided to start cutting down trees for the pole barn.

"What kind of trees are you going to cut for the poles?" asked Earl.

"I dunno.  Pine trees?" I replied.

"No, you don't want that shit. Pine borers.  You want Maple or Oak."

OK, so I picked a tall scraggly Maple that needed to come down to make room for other trees.

"Too skinny," said Earl.  "You want eight ten inches at least."

So I picked another.  Since both my chain saws were not running (the brand new one needs a coil after running for fifteen minutes total, and the other hasn't run in 30 years so the carburetor probably needs to be cleaned out) Earl fetched his.  Instead of handing it to me, he started cutting.

First, cut a wedge out of the side in the direction that you want the tree to fall.

Then cut the backside of the tree.

Then look in amazement because it fell in the totally wrong direction.

I got Bessie the Tractor, put a chain on the tree, and hauled it out.  Earl limbed it and I hauled it up where the pole barn will go.   Then I picked another Maple behind the rock wall I built that morning.

Earl notches the tree, cuts the back, and again watches in amazement as the tree falls 180 degrees from where it was supposed to go.

I couldn't get to the tree with Bessie, so Earl got Casey the Backhoe to drag it out.  Notice the new Bleecker Mountain Stone Wall (patent pending).

"I'm too old for this shit."

The days here in Bleecker are beautiful, as you can see in the pics.  Sunny and warm.  August is perfect weather in upstate New York, which is probably why the New York Racing Association has its meet in Saratoga every year.  Pam and I fully intended to get to the track this year.  Well, the season isn't over yet, so maybe we'll get there.

One of our blog followers, Thorp, wanted to know about the huge rocks in the foundation that Earl couldn't budge with the backhoe.  Well, that will require dynamite, which is illegal, or earth moving equipment much larger than Casey the Backhoe.  So it will be left up to whomever does the foundation to deal with.

Meanwhile, the leaves are turning and the nights are getting colder.  Our rental Unabomber Cabin can't be lived in in the dead of winter because of the steep driveway.  We're making little progress on our place because other people are moving too slow.  What to do?  Where to live?

We have an option.  I don't want to reveal it here yet... but look for it.  As you Drift Away blog followers know, we don't need much, and what doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Bleecker Mountain Rock Of The Month Club!

So it occurred to me that selling Bleecker Mountain Stone Wall Kits (patent pending) may not appeal to everyone.  After all, having a five yard dump truck deposit a 10,000 pound load in one's driveway may be a little intimidating to the uninitiated.  So I've created The Bleecker Mountain Rock Of The Month Club.

For a nominal fee, a subscriber will be sent one specially selected Bleecker Mountain Rocktm  once a month, selected by an expert in the field.   Rocks would be selected by color, type (mainly igneous with a few metamorphic), size, and shape to be aesthetically pleasing when assembled together as a set.

Bleecker Mountain Rockstm are versatile.  Many are used for Bleecker Mountain Stone Walls (patent pending) of course, but they have many other uses.  You can use them as paper weights, edging for your garden, blocking a tire when jacking up a car, aquarium decorations, or putting in your toilet's tank to save water.  The possibilities are endless.  There is no product on the market today more versatile than Bleecker Mountain Rockstm.

Bleecker Mountain Rockstm  are tough, too.  They are, on average, a few billion years old.  Yes, that's right.  Billion, with a B.  They've survived ice ages, glaciers, dinosaurs, and Obamacare.  What other product can you buy that can make that claim?  And best of all,  Bleecker Mountain Rockstm are 100% American made!  Each Bleecker Mountain Rocktm comes with a certificate of authenticity.

So you're thinking "Sign me up, Dave!  But wait.  What does it cost?"

Hah.  I'm glad you asked.  That's the best part.  If you come to Bleecker Mountain and pick the rock yourself, with the guidance of one of our rock experts, there is no charge whatsoever.  We do this as a customer service because we care about our community.  If you'd like us to select and ship a Bleecker Mountain Rocktm  to you, you pay only for shipping and a nominal handling charge of $10 per month, charged to your credit card on our automatic payment plan.

Quantities are limited, so order yours today!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Holy Crap It's Hot

It's been hot here in Bleecker lately.  It was 85 two days ago, and 91 yesterday.  That's really too hot to be doing manual labor.

Earl was spreading out fill from the basement over the big wet spot on our property.  The fill had rocks in it, so Earl, being Earl, and being too old for that shit, fetched his tractor with its little backhoe to scoop the rocks into the backhoe's front bucket.

I was hauling gravel, sand, and stone from the gravel pit and dumping it on our driveway.  I got off Bessie the Tractor and was raking it level when I saw this garter snake, who was shedding his skin.

Snakes ALWAYS freak me out when I see them until I figure out what they are.   Once I knew he was a garter snake, ate bugs and had no fangs, I picked him up (wearing leather gloves, of course, 'cause they're icky) and tossed him in the bushes, safe from the dogs.

Olivia was being all weird, as usual.  No, I have no idea what she's doing on top of the woodpile.

Why can't she be a normal dog like Chevy and Ruby and just chill?  Note the bonfire woodpile in the background.  That's going Labor Day weekend.

By a quarter to five, it was down to a cool 85 degrees.  We were done for the day.

I wonder what today's younger generations do who have grown up with digital clocks and cell phone time?  Without a round dial, what does "a quarter to five" mean to them?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Out Of Fuel

My days are running one into another.   One is like the next.  Go to the property, move around some rocks or some logs, take a PBR break...

It was early morning.  Earl and I needed diesel fuel for the backhoe and Earl's tractor.  Pam was headed off the mountain to go grocery shopping, so I put two diesel jerry jugs behind the Kia.  When she finished feeding Jeremiah the Horse and came back to our place, she noted the jerry cans.

"I can't get diesel fuel," she said.

"Why not?" said I.

"Because then all of our groceries will stink like diesel,"  she stated flatly.

I know better than to try to reason with Pam when she states things flatly.

"I'll get diesel when I get back from grocery shopping."

Earl and I did what we could with what we had, Earl moving dirt and rocks and me moving logs and brush.  We stopped at 11 AM.

"Might as well have a beer," said Earl.  "It's too hot to pick up rocks by hand.  I need the tractor."

It was 90 degrees.  It's hard to argue with that logic.  The sun must be over the yardarm somewhere, so I handed Earl a PBR and took one for myself.  We sat.  And sat.  At 2 PM, there was still no sign of Pam.  We were at a standstill.

"I suppose we could go get diesel ourselves," said Earl finally.

"No," said I.  "That's not a good idea.  We've had two beers in the past three hours.  I don't think we should drive."

So we sat in the screen house.   Look closely at the photo below.

No, not at the huge hole in the screen made by our dogs, who we trained to run through screens on the boat.  Look at the scraggly pine tree in the far right of the pic.  See anything odd?

Here's a close up.  Look at that 90 degree bend.

"Hey look, Earl.  What a great spot to go sit in a tree.  I can see your house and everything you're doing from up there"

I can't print Earl's response, since this is a family rated blog.

Pam and her mom finally got home close to 4 PM.  It was too late to get diesel for Earl and I.  We were done for the day.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Take Apart a Screen House to Move It? Naw...

We  bought and built a 10 x 10 screen house when we moved to our rental cabin in May.  The bugs can be fierce here in Bleecker and we needed it.  We used it a lot, but once we started working on our property, it's use went down.  By the time we got home from spending the day hauling logs or fetching rocks, it was late and we were tired and we mostly collapsed, surfing Al Gore's internets or watching a movie on DVD.   We decided we'd get more use out of it over at our property.

I looked it over.  It was a pain to put together, having to read directions and all.  It would be a nuisance to take it apart and put it together agai... hmmm...

I told Earl of my plan.  His eyes twinkled.

"Let's do it!" he exclaimed.

I thought it might look better to the sheriff or state police if we used the tractor. The tractor had a crack in the hydraulic system that needed to be welded first.

"You need to stop hitting shit," observed Earl.  "Every time I turn around, I'm welding some shit on this tractor."

Earl inspects the crack.  He got his grinder and grinded it down.  I don't know anything about welding, but apparently it works better if the weld sticks on bare metal.

The problem with welding a hydraulic pipe is that hydraulic oil burns.  So after draining as much oil as I could, I reinserted the drain plug so when the oil caught on fire, it would run out of oxygen and go out.  The sparks did catch an oil soaked rag on fire, which was pretty funny when Earl noticed it burning by his head and tossed it to me to stomp out.

After Earl got done welding up a crack in the hydraulic pipes, we hitched the flatbed trailer up to the tractor and hied ourselves over to the rental cabin.

We wheeled it into place.

I had cut a sapling into two 11' lengths.  We put those cross ways on the trailer, and tied the screen house down onto the saplings.

And out we went.  A low hanging power line over the driveway presented an obstacle, but Earl grabbed a long stick and held it up while I passed under.

We had a whole procession driving down the highway.  Me on the tractor towing the screen house, then Earl, and then Pam with the dogs.

Chevy seemed to be enjoying the goings on.

Here it is on our property.  I need to square it up and level it, which I'll do maybe today.  Yesterday, it was time for a victory beer.

"We have a new employee lounge," I said to Earl.

"No we don't."

"We don't?  What do you call this?"

"This is the family lounge."

"Well, where is the employee lounge?"

"Anywhere else."

And then I heard Earl mutter to himself, "I can come over here to sit whenever Judi gets mad at me."

Earl will be spending a lot of time here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Making Outlets For The Generator

We have a little down time while we're waiting on plans from our architect.  The basement is dug as best as we can do it without dynamite, and I'm getting tired of moving rocks, so I decided to wire up an outlet cord for our generator.

I bought this generator from Scottish friends at Brunswick Landing Marina.  I didn't look at it much.  It only had a half hour on the clock and it was a good deal so I  bought it.  When we got it to Bleecker and I needed power to run an air compressor, I looked and it had no outlets.  Only something that looked like marine shore power outlets, round, but with three round holes to plug into.

I'm pretty good at figuring things out thanks to Google, and I figured that these were special European electrical connectors.  I went to an electrical supply place in Northern Ireland and determined that I needed two 110 volt 32 amp IP44 connectors, and one 220 volt.  Only they didn't have the 110, only the 220.  Believe it or not, I found them at an electrical supply house in North Carolina.  Earl had extra electrical wire, and I bought the parts for a four outlet box at Gloversville True Value.   Yesterday was a good day to put it all together.

For those electrically challenged, like me (I don't know why electrons don't leak out of wall outlets and pile up on the floor), I googled the proper wire colors.  White is neutral (like the French battle flag), black is hot (like if you got fried by grabbing a hot wire) and green is ground (both start with G).  As my Irish Grandma O'Malley used to say, "Be the job big or small, do it well or not at all."

First, I wired the two outlets together.  Before connecting to the wire, it's a good idea to stick the wire through the box.

To make the outlets fit in the box, I had to snap off the tabs on the end.

Then Pam came by riding Jeremiah.

Then they trotted off, headed for Tolman Town Road, a public road between Bleecker and Mayfield that was either abandoned or never finished.

The finished box.  I had to cheat, though.  I didn't buy the strain relief clamp for the wire, so I wrapped a few yards of black electrical tape around the wire so it wouldn't pull out of the box.

This is the inside of the IP44 outlet.  The connection on the left is labeled "W" for white, and the bottom one has a symbol for "earth", or what we call ground.


I started up the generator and plugged in the cord, and a lamp into the outlet box.  I had light.

A check with the multimeter showed that I had correct polarity and 122.6 volts.   The hot wire is the slot on the right when the ground is pointed down, and I had voltage there, so I know the polarity is correct.

So our property now has power to charge a dead tractor battery, or to power tools when we start building our house, or to power our house because it will take months for National Grid to run power to my pole.  You can't even apply to get on their schedule until you have a building permit, and then it takes them four to five months to do it.   Seriously.  They claim that it's because many house building projects are never started.  I guess that's is the kind of customer service you get when you have a monopoly.

And that's probably why so many cabins in the woods are off grid.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Bleecker Mountain Weight Loss Program

Our Bleecker Mountain Weight Loss Program was developed in accordance with the time honored tradition of picking up rocks.  Picking up rocks is something our ancestors have done for thousands of years.  This is not just an American tradition, but goes back even to ancient Europe.  Who are we to question?

After studying the technique in-depth, we here at Bleecker Mountain Life have developed the following weight loss/toning regimen.

First, if you're over 50, there's none of this "lift with your legs, not your back" nonsense.  I can hardly bend down to put on my socks let alone pick up rocks with my legs.  This is the classic "stoop" position.   Notice the arched back.  Classic.

Carry the rock at belt level.  Do NOT carry a rock over your head, no matter how many people are watching.  Rocks can be slippery.

Toss in bucket, keeping your toes well out of the way.

Bend over in exhaustion.  Pant.  Repeat, for hours.

The Bleecker Mountain Weight Loss Program makes not only people tired who do it, or watch it, but dogs too.  Ruby was exhausted watching me lose weight.  Don't roll over, Ruby.

If you'd like more information on The Bleecker Mountain Weight Loss Program, or the Bleecker Mountain Do-It-yourself Stone Wall Kit (patent pending), comment below and I'll get back to you.  Openings are still available for qualified individuals.

To qualify, applicants must be breathing.